Is your anti-malware app up to par? Take a look at AV-TEST’s mobile app security report

February 21, 2013
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Do you think your anti-malware app really does its job in protecting your mobile device? You may want to find out by checking AV-TEST’s official detailed test report for January 2013. Exactly 22 apps have been fully tested and rated according to protection, usability and features.

The results

Most of the tested apps performed really well. TrustGo: Mobile Security 1.3 managed to earn a perfect score and therefore the top spot. For failing to 100% detect all malware samples (but still faring above the industry average), Lookout: Antivirus & Security 8.6 came in closely at second place. Trend Micro: Mobile Security 2.6 and Symantec: Mobile Security 3.2 tied at third place.

TrustGo

Of the 22 rated apps, only GFI: Mobile Security 2.0 failed to receive certification. While it received a perfect score for its positive impact on usability of the device, it only managed to earn 71% in detection rate – that’s 13% below the next lowest detection rate by another app – which translated to a protection score of just 1.0. The industry average for detection is gauged at 94%, with near-zero false warnings during installation and usage of legit apps from Google Play Store.

See the score summary of the 22 apps or click on the source link for more comprehensive details at the bottom of this post.

App testing system

To understand how AV-TEST determined the effectiveness of Android anti-malware scanners, here’s how the test and scoring system works: a total sample set of 850 to 1000 samples of malware were thrown in for each app to detect, along with a few clean apps acquired from Google Play to stand in during false positive tests. Every test was performed by inserting an SD card containing the samples and using on-demand scanning. Any malware that remained undetected was purposefully accessed to evaluate the antivirus app’s real-time protection feature, if available.

An app was then rated for up to six points for protection depending on the percentage of detected malware. Up to six points was rewarded again for usability, checking for any performance issues the app may present while being run. Finally, an app was rewarded an extra point for providing at least two extra features. After all, most protection software these days are no longer just simple malware scanners but are fully-loaded security suites that offer anti-theft, parental controls, safe browsing and encryption features.

An app could get a total perfect score of 13.0 if it managed to detect every malware sample the test threw in, hardly affected battery, data usage, and general performance, and touted more than two additional security features.

Should you install an antivirus app?

Of course upon seeing the list, it may occur to some people if installing an AV app is really necessary for Android users. The answer really depends on certain situations.

android malware

On one hand, a security app is really important when users opt to installing Android apps from unknown sources. Some websites offer apps that are free, although many of which are usually pay-to-download in Google Play Store, and most likely infected with malware. Plugging into an infected computer poses another risk. Perhaps worst of all, a recent malware report by Blue Coat Systems showed that cybercriminals are finding it easier to target Android users, with the July-September 2012 quarter alone presenting a 600% increase in malware.  Even with Android 4.2 introducing malware protection features, a malicious app has nonetheless bypassed the security measures. Consequences can be dire: identity theft, fraud, deletion and corruption of data, and unresponsive device.

On the other hand, users may pass installing a security app if they are constantly vigilant, aware of whatever permissions they are giving to apps they install, and downloading only from Google Play and trusted developers. Unfortunately, even the most careful can be caught off guard.

If you do decide to get protection for your Android device, check out our own list of best antivirus apps for 2013. Of the 11 products we mentioned, 7 of them have been tested by AV-Test and received a certified status. An official Twitter status from the independent security institute also stated that more Android apps will be tested in March, with the findings to be published in April 2013.

Which antivirus app are you using?  Is it really up to par according to AV Test?

Product Overall AV-TEST Score Malware Detected (%)
AhnLab: V3 Mobile 2.0 10.5 94
Antiy: AVL 2.2 11.5 100
Avast: Mobile Security 2.0 11.0 98
Bitdefender: Mobile Security 1.2 11.5 100
Comodo: Mobile Security 1.4 11.0 97
Dr. Web: anti-virus 7.0 11.5 97
ESET: Mobile Security 1.1 11.0 95
F-Secure: Mobile Security 8.1 8.5 94
G Data: Mobile Security 24.3 9.5 89
GFI: Mobile Security 2.0 8.0 71
Ikarus: mobile.security 2013 9.5 87
Kaspersky: Mobile Security 10.1 9.0 96
Lookout: Antivirus & Security 8.6 12.5 99
NQ Mobile: Mobile Security 6.6 11.0 97
Qihoo: 360 Mobile Safe 3.7 8.5 84
Quick Heal: Total Security 1.01 10.0 93
Sophos: Mobile Security 1.6 11.5 96
Symantec: Mobile Security 3.2 12.0 98
Tencent: QQ Security 3.9 10.0 97
Trend Micro: Mobile Security 2.6 12.0 97
TrustGo: Mobile Security 1.3 13.0 100
Webroot: SecureAnywhere Mobile 3.1 11.0 96

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